Sunday, April 29, 2012

When writing takes a back seat...

Everyone has something that they truly like doing. Some like sports; some like acting; some like reading…you get my drift. When they indulge themselves in their pursuits, they find comfort and a modicum of satisfaction that they can’t find elsewhere. I get that feeling from writing. So why is it that when I put off something else to get writing accomplished I feel guilty, as though I am being selfish by putting my need to write above other things?

It’s always, I can’t write until the laundry is done, the dishes are cleaned, the groceries are purchased, the checks are written for the bills. My office is too messy, I have to make that phone call…”my life goes on in endless song, above earth’s lamentations.”

At one time or another, all creatives feel their work is undervalued. Sometimes that is a self-imposed feeling, sometimes it is a lack of self worth, and sometimes it is the result of undue criticism. Once at a family gathering, I was seeking help in naming a book I had written. When I explained what the book was about, someone said, “Who the hell would want to read that?”

Now I’m not what you would call a bible scholar, but I went home from that gathering and starting looking for a particular quote. When I found it, I printed it out and posted it directly over the computer screen, where I could see it every time I sat down to write. If you are a creative, I suggest you do the same.

Mark 6:4 "A prophet is honored everywhere, except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house."

Perfect strangers loved the book, but this relative placed its value at less than nothing. Deep down, these kinds of comments whittle away at your self esteem and self worth. They make you wonder if that thing you love doing is worth the time you spend doing it, and they make you wonder if that thing you love doing is at least as important as the mundane stuff that needs to be done.

Stop wondering. Make time for that thing you love doing. If you are criticized, ignore it. Even the bible tells you to expect no respect from your family. Expand. Take your creations to those who don’t know you and don’t judge you by some preconceived set of standards. I’m not saying you won’t get criticism, but at least it will be criticism of the actual creation and not criticism of you based on familiarity.

And now, back to my writing!